Former President Donald J. Trump has reached back into his brand of nativism to accuse a political opponent of color — this time, Nikki Haley — of not being a real American eligible for the presidency as he defends his own eligibility for the ballot under the Constitution.
On his social media site on Monday, Mr. Trump reposted a report by The Gateway Pundit, a website influential in the pro-Trump community that traffics in all manner of conspiracy theories, sowing doubt about Ms. Haley’s U.S. citizenship as polls show her cutting into Mr. Trump’s lead in New Hampshire. The report falsely claims that because Ms. Haley’s Indian immigrant parents were not yet citizens when she was born in South Carolina, she is disqualified “from presidential or vice-presidential candidacy under the 12th amendment.”
Ms. Haley was born in the United States in 1972, automatically becoming a citizen.
Mr. Trump has done this before. His political rise was powered by his false and racist claim that Barack Obama, then the president, was born in Kenya and therefore ineligible for the White House. In 2016, he charged that his closest rival that election year, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, was ineligible for the ballot because he was born in Canada to an American mother.
But this time there is an added twist: Mr. Trump is fighting legal efforts in a number of states to declare him ineligible for the ballot under the Constitution’s 14th amendment, cases that so far have succeeded in Colorado and Maine.
The Constitution sets very few standards for presidential candidates: They must be at least 35 years old, be a “natural-born” citizen and have been a resident of the United States for 14 years. Section Three of the 14th amendment, approved after the Civil War, added that anyone who engaged in or aided an “insurrection” against the United States after taking an oath to support the Constitution was ineligible to “hold any office, civil or military.”
Mr. Trump has previously called for an end to “birthright citizenship.”
The question of Mr. Trump’s eligibility under the insurrection clause is now before the Supreme Court.